[Magazine] [Good Morning Pops August Interview] BTS Leader Rap Monster

Time to find myself and my dream
Rap Monster

Don't you think youth is both the brightest and the most worrisome moment? Popular group BTS is receiving great love from Korean and international fans and the group's leader, Rap Monster was just another youth who had concerns and worked hard behind the splendid stages. We listened to the story shared by a youth who is running towards his dream in the center of Public Culture.

Writing Journalist Kim Eunkyung | Photo Journalist Seo Soyoung

Please say hello to our Good Morning Pops Family.
Hello? This is Rap Monster, leader of BTS. Good Morning Pops is a very familiar broadcast to me because my mother used to turn it on whenever I had breakfast when I was younger. I think everyone would know this program because it's a very well-known show and I'm glad to be able to greet all of you.

What kind of music does BTS create?
We try to honestly express the stories of our age group. When we first debuted our group's average age was 19 so we talked about school. Now all of us are above 20 so we're talking about youth. Expressing what we can express the best right now, I believe that is a meaningful work.

You released your own mixtape <RM>, what were the things you wanted to express? 
Honestly I was very confused about the path I was going to be taking after debuting as BTS. I personally thought that I needed to organize this chaos once and for all. I created it (mixtape) to accept and clear my mind on my  sense of inferiority and confused thoughts.
I was attacked frequently because I was both an idol and a hip hop rapper. During this phase I developed the  sense of inferiority because I wasn't sure why they couldn't enjoy my music unbiasedly. I could say that I was very obsessed over prejudices. Actually I had achieved many things after debuting as an idol but at first I think I just considered about how I wasn't judged equally like the other people who aren't (idols).
There's a song called "Do you" in my mixtape and it means "Be yourself". But honestly, I don't live my life 100% as myself. So I tried to express the messages I wanted to tell myself through this song. "You are who you are. There are people who dislike you but there are people who tell you that their lives had changed because of your music  Why do you lock yourself up with hurtful remarks? You need to just be yourself and live your life".

You have collaborated with many famous artists like Tiger JK, Yoon Mirae, Warren G and many others. What did you learn from these experiences?
I learned a lot. I realized that people who have reached certain level don't boast about themselves and they don't slander others. They are really amazing people. I was worried that they might think of me as a kid from a dance group who can rap a little but they really respected me. And I realized that I shouldn't be intimidated in front of anyone and that there was no need for me to attack back when some people disliked me.

What made you want to become a singer?
I was interested in poems and writing when I was in elementary school so I wanted to become a writer. Then during my 1st year in middle school I listened to Epik High and Eminem's songs for the first time and I was shocked. I thought, "This is another way of expressing a story". That was the moment when I experienced my two favorite things- writing and music, merging into one. I wanted to express my writings in music so I imitated rap for a whole year. Then I wrote my own rap, visited amateur communities, performed in Hongdae and I reached where I am today. Actually my school days were just about studies and music. I think I fell deeper into music to relieve the stress I got from studies.

You write English lyrics, talk in English during interviews. We think your English is fluent. Do you have any secret tips?
I started studying English since I was 7 so it's been a long time. But I think studying for a long time is not the answer. I diligently attended English academy for a very long time and studied hard in school too but  it was media that really helped me. I listened to shows like Good Morning Pops and watched movies to study. My mother bought me 10 seasons of American show <Friends> and I think I watched it over 30 times.
And personally I think enjoying rap helped me a lot. Since rap is a culture from English speaking country, I started listening to English rap, searching for English interviews and imitated their rap, accent and gestures. Then I tried to interpret naturally. I think you need to focus on communication more than grammar when you're studying. In school they tell you that your English will improve when you know the grammar thoroughly but when you're speaking that's not really true. And I have improved a lot after our debut. When we're doing interviews in overseas, since I'm the leader I had to understand and talk. I understood better and spoke more coherently when I became desperate. I stammered a little during interviews with foreign media like Bloomberg and Reuters when they asked us questions which weren't in the script but I was able to express my thoughts almost and I think I will improve in the future.

These days men with sexy brain "Sexy brain man" are popular. What do you think?
I don't think people with sexy brain are solely smart. I think people who we can learn from and people who have the power to deliver their thoughts persuasively have sexy brains too. Of course, I'm happy to be called with such modifier. It's not a bad modifier either. Stages with high degree of completion is the top priority for idols but I think we should be smart too. When we're promoting there are many things we need to be good at. So I don't regret how I used to study hard in my school days. I'm able to receive attention now because I went through such time and I believe that is also why I'm able to be the group's leader.

What kind of person do you think you are?
I'm a person who questions myself a lot and think a lot too. I also wander endlessly mentally. Perhaps I could say I have spiritually itchy feet? (laughs) <RM> was also about my wanderings in order. I think I will continue to wander. Maybe I'm a chameleon. I always feel uneasy but I dream of stability and at the same time I desire to wander. But I like this version of me and I think this is me. That is also why my music is double sided.

Original article here
Translated by PEACHISODA
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